Mumbai: Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey on Tuesday issued orders for the immediate arrest of Union minister Narayan Rane after an FIR was registered against him in the north Maharashtra city over his remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Accordingly, a team of Nashik Police left in the morning for Ratnagiri district, where Rane is currently carrying out his 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra', an official said.
Rane had sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Chief Minister Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter's ignorance of the year of India's independence.
"It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap, Rane said during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Raigad district on Monday.
The BJP leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his August 15 address to the people of the state. Thackeray had to check the year of independence with his aides midway during the speech that day, Rane said.
Following his remarks, a complaint was lodged against Rane by Nashik city Shiv Sena unit chief at the Cyber police station there.
Based on the complaint, an FIR was registered against Rane in Nashik under IPC sections 500 (defamation), 505(2) (mischief), 153-B (1)(c) (remarks likely to cause disharmony, or feeling of enmity or hatred or ill-will), a police official said.
Considering the law and order situation across the state and in Nashik in the wake of Rane's remarks, Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey ordered an investigation into the matter and immediate arrest of the Union minister.
Accordingly, a team, led by Nashik DCP (crime) Sanjay Barkund and comprising police inspector Ananda Wagh and other officers, was formed and it rushed to Chiplun in Ratnagiri to arrest Rane, the official said.
The team was asked to arrest Rane and produce him before a court in Nashik, the official said, adding the team was also directed to follow the due procedure for arresting the Union minister.
"We are going by the facts of the case after the registration of an offence against Rane. We are following the rule of law," Pandey said, adding the arrest was needed to prevent the repetition of such an offence.
The Union minister will be arrested in the case and produced before a court, and further action will be taken according to orders of the court, the police commissioner said.
After Rane's arrest, Vice President (Venkaiah Naidu) will be informed as the Union minister is a member of the Rajya Sabha, the official said.
"While arresting Rane, police will follow all protocols with regard to a Union minister," he said adding all his privileges as Union minister will be considered.
Whatever he wants to say, he can put forth before the court, the senior police official said.
Meanwhile, in Aurangabad , Shiv Sena's spokesperson Ambadas Danve lodged a complaint against Rane at Kranti Chowk police station over the latter's remarks against the CM and party workers hit a photo of the Union minister with footwear.
Talking to reporters after lodging the police complaint, Danve said Rane's remarks were "objectionable", and demanded action against the BJP leader.
The MLC called Rane a kombdi chor' (chicken stealer) -- a reference to the poultry shop he ran in Chembur five decades ago during his initial stint with the Sena -- a released a couple of hens at the Kranti Chowk square.
The women's wing of the Shiv Sena will also undertake an agitation in Aurangabad, Danve said.
"Earlier, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray used to call Narayan Rane as 'Naru', which is the name of a disease in Marathi. The Shiv Sena has a remedy for this disease," he said.
He claimed Rane made the statement to provoke the Shiv Sena.
The Shiv Sena will protest against Rane's statement through the constitutional process as well as by taking to the streets, the MLC said.
An official at the Kranti Chowk police station in Aurangabad said they have received the Shiv Sena's complaint and action will be taken as per the instructions of senior officials.